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Trash Turned Art Sends Social Message During Art Basel Week

This year’s Art Basel collection in Wynwood Walls featured a sculpture by Portuguese artist Bordalo II.


Artur Bordalo, most famously known as Bordalo II was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1987. He grew up watching his grandfather, Real Bordalo, create watercolor paintings. When he became a teenager, Bordalo took an art form of his own, graffiti. The city as his canvas, Bordalo explored his artistic abilities throughout Lisbon. No graffiti was without meaning, however. Each piece contained some figurative message depicting his interpretation of urban life and the world itself.

“My background is in graffiti,” he said. “I mean the real one. Illegal and funny. I spent my whole youth doing it.” Often times his art got him in trouble and he had several encounters with the law, but it was all part of the journey that led him to discover his own style within the artistic community. Bordalo is most recognized for his “Trash Animals” sculptures. He got the inspiration for these pieces from the real world. “I can get inspiration everywhere,” he said, “by positive and negative aspects.” One such sculpture formed part of the Art Basel exhibition in Wynwood Walls bringing social awareness to a topic Bordalo feels very passionate about. He is a firm believer that his generation, and those following it, have been trained to over-consume and as a result, produce a lot of “rubbish.” By using the waste of others to create art, Bordalo shows that what some see as trash, others see as a treasure. 

According to Bordalo, “the ‘Trash Animals’ are a series of artworks that aim to draw attention to a current problem. The idea is to depict nature itself, in this case, animals, out of materials that are responsible for its destruction.”

When he began his career as a professional artist, he named himself Bordalo II to differentiate himself from his grandfather. “My grandfather, he’s the first Bordalo. I am the second,” but his artistic style and approach are what has truly set him apart.








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